Art and Community X Material Speaks: The New Quilt
March 10, 2006- April 30, 2006
The Esther Klein Art Gallery welcomes the ART QUILT NETWORK / NEW YORK with their exhibition of fiber art entitled, Material Speaks: The New Quilt. This exhibition is being held in conjunction with the Art Quilt Network’s annual meeting that taking place in Philadelphia and is one of several events being held the month of April throughout the city celebrating fiber arts. Material Speaks features the work of over 30 internationally known fiber artists.
While these art quilts explore and express aesthetic concerns that are common to other visual arts, such as painting, printmaking and sculpture, they also retain a distinct relationship to crafts and the traditions of folk art through the use of common materials and techniques. ART QUILT NETWORK / NEW YORK maintains a connection with the historical traditions of American quiltmaking through its very name. For some of the members, such as Susan Ball Faeder, Randy Frost, Marilyn Henrion, Paula Nadelstern, Sue Pierce, and Joy Saville, their techniques of patchwork, piecing, and appliqué directly relate to the time-honored application of needle to thread that has produced more than two centuries of American quilts. While paying homage to quilt traditions, these artists have produced complex works of contemporary art, as they have expanded the boundaries of traditional quiltmaking.
Several of the AQN/NY artists are working with surface design techniques unknown to earlier generations of American quiltmakers: Deborah Anderson manipulating photo transfers; Liz Axford with clamp resist shibori; Jeanne Lyons Butler applying oil paint sticks and spray paint; Elizabeth Barton and fiber reactive dyes; Joyce Carey, using digital photography; and, Nancy Herman, an expert in needle felting.
Artists in AQN/NY using processes that have been utilized in the past by quiltmakers bring their own distinctive style to their work. Linda Levin, for example, fabricates raw-edge collage; Robin Schwalb creates wittily stenciled words; and, Jeanne Williamson combines hand-painting and hand-printing. Both Tafi Brown and Sandra Sider are exhibiting quilts printed with cyanotype, an old-fashioned photographic process used for making quilts in the early 20th century. But these artists have adapted the process to their unique artistic purposes.
Political and personal statements have long been a part of the quilt tradition, and several artists in the AQN/NY exhibition are using the expressive medium of fabric to speak their minds: Judy Becker, concerned about the environment; Nancy Erickson, who still has some slight hope for the human race; and Karen Perrine, with a few questions for the White House.
Dominie Nash is a special case, in that her work connects directly with her own quilt history from past decades. Her “Deconstruction” series consist of earlier quilts that she is now cutting up and reassembling, in a sort of recycling process. Karen McCarthy also stands out, in that her work interprets the quilt medium through paper and fabric collage.
Finally, the definition of quilt is stretched, yet honored, in the creative needlework of B.J. Adams, Jette Clover, Margaret Cusack, Joan Lintault, Vita Marie Lovett, and Patricia Malarcher. Their narrative and figural surfaces are rich in anecdotal humor and aesthetic finesse.
Viewed as a whole, this astonishing exhibition of nearly 30 works reflects the spirit of exploration and experimentation that defines American art quilts in the 21st century.
MATERIAL SPEAKS: THE NEW QUILT :: 14 MARKERS
MATERIAL SPEAKS: THE NEW QUILT :: HARMONY
MATERIAL SPEAKS: THE NEW QUILT :: QUIRKY